Polish WW-II memorial pillar unveiled in Kolhapur
The Memorial Pillar has come up at tiny Valivade village near modern-day Kolhapur town, where over 5,000 Poles lived, integrated, and worked for several years before returning to their country
In a brief and touching ceremony on Saturday, Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz unveiled a Memorial Pillar to remember the thousands of persecuted Polish refugees who escaped to India during World War II and were given shelter in the erstwhile kingdoms of Kolhapur and Jamnagar in the then Bombay Province.
The Memorial Pillar has come up at tiny Valivade village near modern-day Kolhapur town, where over 5,000 Poles lived, integrated, and worked for several years before returning to their country.
Valivade was developed on the lines of a typical independent Polish village where the refugees lived and around 78 people who died were laid to rest in the Polish Cemetery still present there.
On Saturday, there was loud applause and cheers as Danuta, a 93-year-old Polish woman had a warm and emotional reunion with her childhood hockey playmates BS Shinde, 87, and DB Jadhav, 88.
"They pointed out each other in a faded yellow photograph of their hockey teams of that era and even playfully argued a bit about their correct identity. It was a poignant sight and will be cherished by the people of Kolhapur for long," said local resident Dhananjay Jathar.
Around 20 Polish people who had lived in Valivade as young children during those harrowing days, have come to India to commemorate the 80th anniversary of WW-II and attend the Memorial Pillar inauguration.
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